Middle East

Egypt’s prosecutor refuses to go

FILES - In this photo dated on August 22, 2010 Egypt's Prosecutor General Abdel Meguid Mahmud leaves the Mohammed Mahmoud Khalil Museum (background) in Cairo. (AFP PHOTO/KHALED DESOUKI)

CAIRO: Egypt’s official news agency says the country’s prosecutor general is refusing to resign despite the president ordering his dismissal in order to defuse public anger over acquittals in a case of brutality against protesters.

The agency quoted Abdel-Meguid Mahmud as saying Thursday that he would remain in his post in defiance of Egypt’s President Mohammad Mursi.

“I remain in my post,” Mahmud told reporters. “According to the law, a judicial body cannot be dismissed by an executive authority.”

The law protects the prosecutor general from being fired by the president.

A court ruling Wednesday found 24 loyalists of ousted President Hosni Mubarak innocent on charges of manslaughter and attempted murder. They were alleged to have played a role in last year’s attack on demonstrators, known as the “Camel Battle.”

Activists who played a central role in the protests that ousted Mubarak say Mahmud was responsible for “weak evidence” provided by the prosecution in the case and is an old regime loyalist.

Earlier Thursday, hundreds of protesters demonstrated in Cairo against the acquittal of the officials.

The protesters chanted slogans against the verdict, accusing the judges of “complicity” with the leaders of the former regime. “The people want to purify justice,” they shouted.

The Youth Movement of April 6, which were the first to protest against Mubarak and the Muslim Brotherhood, called for demonstrations Thursday and Friday, demanding that the accused in this case be “retried.”

Various political parties and groups also called for demonstrations Friday against the country’s Islamist-dominated Constituent Assembly, demanding that justice to be done for the protesters killed or tortured last year.

Almost 850 people were killed in the 18 days of popular protests that led to Mubarak’s ouster on Feb. 11 last year.

Mubarak and his Interior Minister Habib al-Adly were both jailed for life for their role in ordering the killings but, to the fury of activists, six top security chiefs who stood trial with them were acquitted.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on October 12, 2012, on page 9.




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